Varietal Spotlight: Malbec

Malbec is a red wine that originated in France, but which is often associated with Argentina. It is medium-bodied and features complex, intriguing flavors. We offer a 2015 Malbec that has been aged in French oak.

More information about this varietal:

The History of Malbec

Malbec originated in the Southwest of France, most notably in the Cahors region. Throughout the Middle Ages, it was planted widely throughout France. Local vineyards would give it different names and as a result, there are hundreds of ways to refer to this varietal. Some estimates place the number of names at over 1,000. In Cahors, it was known as Côt and this is still one of the most common synonyms. Others include Pressac, Doux Noir, Plant du Lot, Quercy, and Auxerrois. One legend is that it got the name Malbec from a Hungarian peasant who spread it through France, but there is limited evidence to support this theory.

Although Malbec was first grown in France, it is very sensitive to the weather in this region. After a frost in 1956 took out much of the Malbec crop, many vines were never replanted, and the grape became less prominent. In the late 1180s it was brought to the Mendoza region of Argentina. This area has a much different climate, and the vines were able to flourish. Today, Malbec is still grown in Cahors in southern France, but is more strongly associated with Argentina. They are also grown in the United States and we sourced the grapes for our 2015 Malbec from the Lodi appellation in California.

The Malbec Grape

Malbec is highly susceptible to frost, which is one reason it has thrived with increased success in regions outside of France. The varietal can also develop more acidity when grown at higher elevations. The grapes ripen midway through the season and tend to be relatively small. The ripeness of the grapes and the region where they are grown have a strong influence on the flavors of the final wine.

Characteristics of Malbec

Wines of this varietal tend to be dark to the point where they are almost opaque and have a deep purple-red color. One way to recognize Malbec is that it produces a magenta rim when swirled. Some Malbecs are fruit-forward, whereas others are more “green.” Ours falls into the latter category and is medium-bodied, crisply acidic, and lightly tannic. It features flavors of dill, green olive, coconut, and plum as well as pomegranate and dark berry. The wine finishes with notes of clean leather and cut cedar. It pairs well with leaner red meats as well as strong cheeses, such as blue cheese. Rustic spices including paprika, thyme, and cumin also taste excellent with this varietal.

Our Malbec Wines

Our 2015 Malbec was aged for 24 months in French oak and is delightfully complex. It pairs well with a variety of flavors and could be your new favorite.

You can purchase our Malbec at either of our wine tasting rooms or online.